There was an expectation that Amadou Onana would leave Everton this summer amid interest from Arsenal and Chelsea.
That’s according to The Athletic who reported that the departure was expected after the club confirmed their Premier League safety.
Perhaps Onana would have been an Arsenal target were they unsuccessful in their pursuit of Rice – a deal that is already paying dividends.
But it will certainly be interesting to hear this update for both Arsenal and Everton fans, and surely a relief for the latter.
Onana has become a crucial part of Everton’s midfield and the side would be much worse off without the Belgian.
A valuation that doesn’t seem unfair in today’s market.
Arsenal were keen to sign Onana and it was thought he’d leave Everton
Of course, it’s not too hard to realise why Arsenal held interest in Onana.
Although considered a defensive midfielder, Onana has all the attributes to play in a more advanced role, much like Rice.
Rice started at the six against Manchester United on Sunday but had the freedom to advance forwards.
A role that would suit Onana well.
However, both Arsenal and Everton fans are probably happy with how the situation played out.
As mentioned, Everton simply could not afford to lose Onana this summer.
With just one point from their opening four league games the situation would surely be worse without the 22-year-old.
And even if a club like Arsenal or Chelsea had met Everton’s asking price, it would be a tough task to replace Onana.